Winterhawks 5 – Americans 1

Tell me the guy in the photo doesn’t love playing the game…gotta love the eyes and the slight grin.  You can tell he is thinking “I’m going to destroy you”.  Great photo by Bryan Heim.

Of course, it is Nino Niederreiter in the photo and you could see that look in his face tonight as he scored two goals to help lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-1 win over the Tri-City Americans at the Rose Garden.

The win ended the Hawks winless streak at four games and provided the first victory for Portland over Tri-City this season.  Ryan Johansen added two goals and an assist in the win, including his 100th career WHL point on his second period power play goal.

It was as close to 60 minutes as the Hawks have played all year and it included some tremendous special teams, where the Hawks went 2 for 5 on the power play and killed 7 of 8 power plays against on the night.   The lone Ams goal came on a two-man advantage, their third of the night.

Portland also had a goal with the two-man advantage when Niederreiter roofed a shot from the side of the goal to pretty much put the nail in the coffin in the first minute of the third period, making it 4-0.

Mac Carruth stopped 26 of 27 to get back in the win column and Ty Rattie added a late assist to break his personal six game pointless streak.  Sven Bartschi had two helpers and he is now tied with Rattie in points as they lead the team with 41 points after 31 games.

Troy Rutkowski had two assists and he is now over the 20 point mark, posting 4-17-21 in 31 games from the blueline while Derrick Pouliot is slowing moving up the point sheet with another assist, giving him 15 points on the season.

The unsung hero of the night for me was Spencer Bennett and his penalty kill efforts, especially in the first period, earned him his third star tonight.  The PK has been so good for most of the season you have to reward them and tonight was one of those nights.  Tayler Jordan and Taylor Peters as well as Johansen deserve recognition for the PK as well as Brett Ponich, Taylor Aronson and Troy Rutkowksi on the back end.

The Hawks will now travel tomorrow in a rare game-day trip to Spokane to take on the Chiefs.  Normally the team travels the day ahead of the game in Spokane, but with the game tonight, we will just leave in the morning for the six hour trip to the Lilac City.  The weather looks decent…and hopefully the Hawks will take some confidence from tonight into the Spokane Arena, a place where they have had success over the past two seasons.  Game time is 7:00, pre-game at 6:40 on Freedom 970 tomorrow night.


  1. Dumb question, perhaps – but with the games tonight & Wed – did the ‘Hawks think about staying up there between games? Seems like a lose-lose to drive back OR stay.

  2. Great Game – Fun to watch and the crowd was of respectable size! Way to support the team everyone. I actually enjoyed this one ref game far more than the last several multi-ref games where everything (even some things which didnt happen) gets called. Glad to see the whole team shake off the “Funk” and especially at home so we could be there!

  3. Chad–

    First, bear in mind, I have no position with the Hawks, so I don’t know exactly the thinking, but I can offer a couple of educated guesses:

    First, staying in Spokane for four days (and three nights) worth of accomadations is probably prohibitively expensive; secondly, the boys need to be at “home” as much as possible for school and such (as little as that may be over a season)… Thirdly, I’m guessing that Spokane probably doesn’t have a huge number of rinks around… it’d probably be difficult to schedule ice tim for practices.

    Again, those are just guesses, but probably all pretty close to the mark.

  4. Thanks Andy – this is one of my favorite photographs from this season so far… I love trying to capture the emotion of the game and Nino is by far one of the best for it!

  5. Hi,
    I was wondering if anyone can tell me when the trade deadline is for this season? Thanks.

  6. Trade deadline is January 10…

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